For years, the LMS has reigned supreme as the top learning platform for associations. However, as you begin searching for your association’s next solution, you’ll quickly come across a new option on the market— learning experience platforms (LXPs).
But, what really is an LXP and how is it different from your typical LMS? Even further, should you invest in one?
At Web Courseworks, we help professional, healthcare, and trade associations grow their learning businesses with effective learning management systems. Throughout our work, we’ve seen the rise of LXPs firsthand.
In this guide, we’ll answer all of your learning experience platform questions and more, including:
- What is an LXP?
- Why are learning experience platforms rising in popularity?
- LMS vs. LXP: Should you invest in a learning experience platform?
Let’s dive in.
What is an LXP?
A learning experience platform (LXP) is an innovative tool that associations and other learning businesses can use to disseminate educational content to members. LXPs are innovative in their prioritization of personalized learning experiences for each individual learner. Rather than being administrator-led with course recommendations based on the learning business’s trajectory, each learner can control the path of their own experiences.
LXPs accomplish this by aggregating a variety of learning materials from different sources and providing artificial intelligence-assisted recommendations to each learner based on their past interests. The learner can then use these recommendations to map out their own professional development journey, exploring subjects that actually interest them while avoiding those less valuable to their experience.
The goal of an LXP is to provide a customized experience for each individual learner. These platforms remove the onus of designing each individual experience from the shoulders of the association— your team— and instead give learners agency to do so themselves.
What are the main learning experience platform features?
There are a variety of features within LXPs that support a customized learning experience. These include:
- Learner-Driven Recommendations: The LXP will provide course recommendations to help learners forge the best learning path for their individual experiences. This includes skills-based (turning to the skills that would benefit a learner based on their goals) and usage-based (turning to the past courses completed by a learner and their peers) recommendations.
- Social and Community-Based Learning: The experience within an LXP occurs through both formal and informal learning. In part, this is carried out through social and community interactions. Learners can rate content, leave feedback, receive acknowledgments, discuss concepts with one another, and more.
- On-Demand Learning: With an LXP, learners can access the course content they seek, when they seek it. Rather than learners accessing content as it becomes available, learners always have access to a vast library of on-demand courses. If you think of your favorite streaming service, this is a similar concept— just with courses.
- Various Learning Types: LXPs can deliver a variety of learning experiences, including instructor-led training, blended learning, learning games, microlearning courses, multi-module courses, social learning, and more. Because the LXP acts as an aggregation tool, a wide variety of content is always made available for learners.
- Extensive Integrations: LXPs are often made to integrate with a variety of systems that your learning business uses to manage your members, whether it’s your association management software, membership management software, or something else. The data from these systems is then used to inform the recommendations provided by the LXP.
- Intuitive Interface: LXPs are both immersive and personalized. Because each learner has a customized experience within the platform, it’s aligned with their exact needs. This makes it intuitive to use for each individual learner.
You may have noticed that some of these features— such as social learning features— are available in both LXPs and learning management systems (LMSs). Compared to what you likely currently use, an LMS, what are the key differences between the two platforms?
What is the difference between an LMS and an LXP?
While LMSs and LXPs technically achieve the same end goal— administering eLearning to members— the way that they do so is drastically different. Let’s examine these two solutions side-by-side to note key differences.
On one hand, LMSs are:
- Focused on administering training and assessments. The goal is to provide this training and track and report on educational outcomes for the association as a whole.
- Driven by the organization itself. Your organization chooses the programming provided, manages the completion of it, and ensures it’s compliant with any standards and meets learning goals.
- Aligned around the main goal of achieving the organization’s learning objectives. Learning business rules, such as “Each quarter, all salespeople need to undergo X, Y, Z training,” are prioritized. The association acts as a content curator to fulfill those requirements.
On the other hand, LXPs are:
- Focused on personalized learning experiences. This is done through aggregating content from multiple sources, creating content with integrated authoring tools, and providing an interactive learning environment.
- Driven by the learner. Learners outline their own path using content discovery tools, content recommendations and pathways, skills mapping, and content indexing.
- Aligned around the main goal of achieving high LXP usage. The goal is to create a system that learners want to engage with and learn within, increasing the usage of the system as a whole.
The type of solution you choose depends on the priorities of your organization. If a top-down learning plan would best serve your particular learners— for example, a corporation training channel partners with a specific training cadence— then an LMS would be a better fit. On the other hand, if your learners are driven by having agency and seeking a more personalized experience, an LXP may be the best choice.
Why are learning experience platforms rising in popularity?
Before you invest in a learning experience platform, let’s discuss why these solutions are growing in popularity for learning businesses. If you relate to any of these rationales, then an LXP may be the solution you’re looking for.
Desire for a More Competitive Workforce
With each passing year, businesses are seeking a more competitive, impressive workforce. Obtaining a degree and licensure isn’t enough in many industries— hands-on experience combined with a “lifelong learner” attitude is what many businesses are seeking from employees.
The cycle then continues— employees who go above and beyond are hired and the workforce becomes more competitive. To address this, an LXP recommends content based on the:
- Needs of the organization, industry, and market.
- Employee’s job role and current skillset.
- Individual’s interests, past activity, experience, goals, and learning styles.
This results in content recommendations that target gaps in your members’ knowledge.
A Move Toward Personalization
The desire for a more competitive workforce hasn’t only led to an increase in training for your members, but also an increased focus on individualization. Each of your members is looking for ways to stand out in their field— and taking the same courses, exploring the same topics, and earning the same credits as their peers isn’t always the way to do so.
Learners are seeking a hyper-personalized experience to stand out from the crowd. Rather than thinking of a skill they’d like to learn and parsing through a massive eLearning library to find a tangentially applicable course, learners want the exact resource that meets that need— whether association-created, externally created, or even user-generated.
LXPs address this desire for personalization by aggregating a wide variety of content— both that created within your LMS and that created elsewhere. This ensures that learners can explore only what they’re most interested in and what provides the most value to them. Over time, this can decrease member turnover and increase participation, as your learning business will be seen as an asset to their professional development.
Access to Increased Insight Into Learning Efficacy
As your learning business grows and evolves, these changes are fueled by data.
LMSs give your team access to data about a learner’s progress and the participation of your members in your eLearning program. LXPs take this a step further by tracking:
- Each individual learners’ activity, such as what learning experiences they’re completing.
- Where and how learners are engaging with the platform, such as the type of device they’re using.
- How effective these elements are at improving the learners’ performance.
The main idea is that rather than tracking usage and completion metrics, LXPs aim to use data to tie learning to member performance. So, if a member completed an external course from their mobile phone, what was the direct impact on their performance in their jobs?
Growth in User-Generated Content
Whether social media posts or YouTube tutorials, weekly blog posts or podcasts, there’s no denying that we’re in a content creation golden age. The vast amount of user-generated content created on a daily basis is baffling— and, thanks to innovative tools from Google, Apple, Facebook, and other silicon valley giants, content quality is only improving.
It naturally follows that this content will catch the eye of your learners— whether through their favorite streaming service, a LinkedIn post, or even an industry newsletter. As this happens again and again, there is a risk of members seeing more value in their own, personally curated learning resources than the eLearning library curated by your association.
An LXP solves this issue with social and community-based learning capabilities. Specifically, LXPs allow for new information to be added into the system by members, who can then share new insights with their peers. Rather than turning to Google, members can turn to their association’s platform.
LMS vs. LXP: Should you invest in a learning experience platform?
An LXP is a cutting-edge platform that some learning business professionals believe will change the way we view eLearning. However, that doesn’t mean that you should abandon the world of LMSs to invest in one.
First and foremost, LXPS are best for organizations that are:
- Large to enterprise-sized with the budget to invest in tech innovations.
- Looking to expand their learning businesses.
- Seeking an open-sourced platform and the ability to adjust to changing learning needs quickly.
This doesn’t describe every association. For example, if your field mandates specific accreditation and licensure training, that type of learning is often better served with an LMS.
LXPs represent a big departure from how your association has likely approached your learning business in the past. For many organizations, moving fully to an LXP and abandoning LMS technology entirely simply isn’t feasible.
If your current LMS isn’t serving your needs but you’re not ready to move fully away from this type of platform, we’d recommend investing in a new LMS that bridges the gap between LMS and LXP technologies perfectly— such as CourseStage by Web Courseworks.
Learn More About Web Courseworks’ CourseStage
CourseStage by Web Courseworks is a full-featured, industrial-sized LMS that was created to grow with your association and empower you to make data-driven decisions.
With course and assessment authoring features, wide-ranging integration capabilities, and extensive reporting, it gives you a comprehensive overhead view of participation in your learning program and the tools needed to increase engagement.
In addition to these features, CourseStage also boasts abilities that are more commonly found in LXPs, such as:
- Social learning that empowers your members to discuss with one another, chat with subject matter experts, and access ongoing updates and news.
- Adaptive learning that personalizes the LMS for the learner, including intuitive course recommendations and dynamic assessments.
- E-learning, virtual events, and place-based, live training that expands your learners’ training experience beyond more traditional courses.
These features fulfill the learner-driven, personalized experience that an LXP would provide while also empowering your team with the data insights and administrative control that LMSs have. It’s the perfect mix of the two learning platform types.
To learn more about how CourseStage LMS can elevate your eLearning program, contact us at Web Courseworks to request a demo today. In the meantime, explore the following additional resources to continue improving your association’s learning business:
- eLearning Pricing Models: 5 Ways to Price Your Courses. It’s crucial that you price your eLearning courses in a way that not only covers LMS costs, but brings in revenue for your association. Explore 5 models to do so in this guide.
- What Does an eLearning Consultant Do? The Complete Guide. An eLearning consultant can help you choose the right learning platform for your association. Explore the full range of consulting services in this guide to learn more.
- Hosting a Virtual Conference: Lessons Learned for 2021. Are you planning any virtual conferences on the horizon? Make sure to incorporate these six lessons that we learned from conferences hosted in 2020.